Source: The Nation
ISLAMABAD: In a major development, Turkmenistan and Pakistan here on Thursday signed a Joint Implementation Plan (JIP) to accelerate work on the TAPI Gas Pipeline project in Islamabad. Pakistan has suggested to Turkmenistan to lay down some portion of the gas line up to Herat in Afghanistan to ensure the ownership from Taliban, which will also help move the project. According to a press release issued here by the Petroleum Division, the JIP was signed by Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik from the Pakistani side and from the Turkmen side by State Minister and Head of TurkmenGaz, Maksat Babayev.
The ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, senior cabinet functionaries, representatives from the Petroleum Division and Inter State Gas Systems Pvt. Ltd. The accord was signed at the end of a two-day visit to Pakistan by a high-ranking Turkmenistan delegation, headed by Maksat Babayev, State Minister and Head of TurkmenGaz, Deputy Minister of Energy Annageldi Saparov, CEO and Chairman of BOD, TPCL, Muhammetmyrat Amanov. The Turkmen Ambassador to Pakistan, Atadjan Movlamov, also accompanied the delegation. The Government of Pakistan also invited Turkmenistan to explore gas connectivity from the Chaman border to Gwadar and build LNG terminals at Gwadar, which would expand supplies to Europe and global LNG markets. The TAPI gas pipeline project aims to bring natural gas from the Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan via a 56-inch diameter pipeline. The Galkynysh gas field is located in the eastern region of Turkmenistan.
The proposed route supply source is Herat, Kandahar, Chaman, Zhob, DG Khan, Multan and Fazilika with a pipeline length of 1,849 kms. It will transport up to 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) (average 3.2 BCFD) of natural gas per year over a 30-year period where Pakistan’s off-take will be 1.35 BCFD. The JIP seeks the constitution of a Senior Coordination Committee (SCC) to expedite and oversee the project activities. The prime minister nominated Special Assistant to Prime Minister Dr Jehanzeb Khan to work as the focal person from the Pakistan side and as the head of SCC. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday expressed confidence that the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project would usher in an era of regional cooperation, development and prosperity.
Addressing here at the signing ceremony of TAPI Joint Implementation Plan, the prime minister said the project was of utmost importance for the development of the four countries and the region. Sharif said the project would help the region to secure natural gas with concrete assurances and mutually-agreed terms and conditions. He mentioned that in view of the global situation, energy had become a real challenge. “For a developing country like Pakistan, there is a need for speedy actions to explore the options for energy,” he said. The prime minister directed his team to do everything to pace up the planning and execution of the TAPI project. He said Pakistan and Turkmenistan were ready to expand relations in diverse areas and boost their cooperation.